Today also began with important practical presentations in peace studies. David Cortright and Hal Culbertson presented “How to Change the World,” an overview of two courses they teach in the Notre Dame Peace Studies program. David Cortright spoke on non-violent social change; Hal Culbertson spoke to us about NGO’s.
David Cortright is a peace scholar and activist. His books include Gandhi and Beyond: Non-Violence in a New Political Age and Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas. He is also Director of Policy Studies at Notre Dame; you can catch his blog at http://davidcortright.net.
One of the most interesting and noteworthy items from Cortright’s presentation came from the work of Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan. They are co-authors of the book, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Non-Violent Conflict. Research by Chenoweth and Stephan concludes that non-violent social change works and is more effective than armed conflict. Their research argues that non-violent strategies create more stable democratic outcomes. Their empirical research on non-violent strategies for political and social change marks a decisive development in peace studies as a academic and practical field. You can learn more about their work in their recent article inthe most recent edition of the online journal, Foreign Affairs.
Hal Culbertson’s presentation on NGO’s was plain and helpful. Many students with professional interests in peace studies will gravitate to NGO’s. NGO’s seem to be the “go-to” in “making a difference” in the world. While there are certain advantages and often overlooked disadvantages to NGO’s, Culbertson’s observations and basic outline of the components of an NGO – their theory of change, method and effectiveness of evaluation (outcomes must be measurable!), management structure, and financing – informs a basic understanding of how NGO’s work, how they differ from other public and private institutions, and where NGO’s can go wrong. Hal Culbertson is the executive director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace studies at Notre Dame.
Our final presentation of the day was a very important session on peace studies as a profession. Anne Hayner, who works directly with the 1,400+ alumni of the Kroc Institute, shared what career paths in practical peacemaking look like. Below is a chart created by John Paul Lederach and Katie Mansfield. A helpful and full explanation of the above chart can be found at http://kroc.nd.edu/strategic-peacebuilding-pathways. If you have any interest in peace studies as a profession, or believe peace studies is not a “real profession” with manifold professional opportunities, click the link and learn more.
For the rest of the day, Priscilla Eppinger, Tony Chvala-Smith and I worked together on a proposal for an MA in Community, Justice, and Peace through the Community of Christ Seminary. Our work is still forming, and its results are provisional. Several factors must come together – resources, marketing, and institutional commitment – to make such a proposal possible. But, it has begun. It is both achievable and promising. The lasting effects of such an MA could be long-lasting for both Community of Christ and Graceland University. The practical resources for developing, improving, or beginning a peace studies program is a task given to every institutional participant of the Summer Institute for Faculty. We are among excellent colleagues. It’s been a privilege to be here and be a part.